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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

vi        THE SECOND PHASE OF THE OCCUPATION      115
paid to Sir Eldon on his death-bed at home. Lord Cromer nevertheless has told us that from conversations he himself had with Sir Eldon shortly before his death " his honeymoon with the Khedive " had approached its close before he left Cairo. It was part of the tragedy of his premature death that time was not allowed him to undo the mischievous results of a policy for which he was not primarily responsible, as it had been imposed upon him from home under a curious misconception of its almost inevitable consequences. Abbas, who could be extremely plausible and even agreeable when he liked, put on his best manners when Lord Kitchener first arrived, and Lord Kitchener was himself at pains to show the Khedive that he bore him no malice for their former differences. So for some time, just as he made light of the extremists' plots against his own life, Lord Kitchener continued to treat the intrigues of the Khedive and of his creatures with a somewhat contemptuous indifference so long as any vital British interests or the particular spheres of Egyptian administration in which he himself took a special interest were not seriously affected. When they were, as, for instance, when he discovered that the Khedive proposed to sell the Mariut railway, constructed mainly for the development of one of his own estates, to the Banco di Roma, acting, it was believed, on German account, he did not hesitate to put his foot down very heavily.
One of the most ill-advised concessions made to Abbas was to leave him complete discretion in the bestowal of titles and decorations. He trafficked in them un-blushingly, selling them for money down or conferring them upon his obsequious tools. He quite openly professed a far greater admiration for his grandfather, the Khedive Ismail, whose misrule had brought Egypt to ruin, than for his far more respectable father, the Khedive Tewfik, who never forgot what his dynasty owed to the British occupation and never refused his loyal co-operation to the British controlling power.
I 2lfish kindliness which stand to Abbas's credit was the visit which heocialf light railways and the introduc